Confessions of a bad friend

I’m not a good friend. I want to be and I wish I could be. Some days I am able to make more of an effort than others, but most of the time, I just can’t seem to put the mask on and set aside what is going on in my life enough to really give my attention to invest in the friendships.

I’m sure there are many who see this as me being selfish, uncaring, egocentric and lazy.

My reality is that I’m buried underneath layers of pain (physical and psychological), fatigue (physical and mental), and everything I do and all my direct interactions with other people requires almost constant effort to restrain and retrain emotional and mental impulses while filtering through the sensory distortions of sight, sound, smell, and touch that distract and detract my concentration and focus.

Add into the mix the fact that I am working through some extremely complicated and complex relationship issues with key people in my life while trying to field off creditors and attend to the needs of a bright, energetic, and active pre-schooler. At the end of that equation what’s left is a big, fat, zero. As in I have nothing left to give.

So, there are some very dear friends who are going through their own versions of what I described above, and I can only offer the sporadic and occasional private message, comment on a status update, or brief and interrupted phone call. There are those who have gone above and beyond and would go to the ends of the earth for me who needed me to be that kind of friend for them and I wasn’t able to do it.

The thing is, I do care about and do appreciate those who have invested their friendship in me. The problem is that I am not able to live up to my expectations of what it means to be a friend, the majority of the time. I don’t expect or want my friends to sacrifice themselves and their lives for me, especially if they expect that of me. I can offer a responsive ear if they reach out. I can offer acceptance of who they are and the choices they make. Hopefully, I can offer a little space of peace and serenity without judgment or too much unsolicited advice. I can offer a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes I can offer these things. Occasionally I can reach out and make myself available, often I just don’t have anything left to offer.

After decades of being the hot mess who relied on everyone else to fix and suffer for her mistakes and being the psychic and emotional vampire who unconsciously sucked everyone else dry, I am doing my best to not be that person anymore. What this means is I have to be careful not to overextend and drain myself to the point that others have to keep rescuing me. So, until I have grown and learned other ways to get what I need to be the mother, wife, and self-sustainer to live my life, my ability to be the kind of friend some others may need and expect me to be does not exist.

I was feeling guilty about this. However, I now realize that I can’t give away what I don’t have. So, if you consider me a friend you will have to find a way to forgive me for not being who and what you want me to be and figure out how to accept me as I am. Otherwise, choose what’s best for you and walk away. I will be saddened and grieve the loss, but I understand.

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32 comments

    1. Cate,
      It’s great to see you! I have been feeling this way for a while. I actually think I read a post from you that was on this very subject and it helped motivate me.

      I think we pressure ourselves and others by expecting too much of the wrong things instead of accepting and appreciating what is there and available to be shared and given.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Blessings,
      Kina

      Like

    1. Thank you. I know this and know that I do have several true friends. I guess the real difficulty is in not recognizing those same characteristics in myself and realizing that if those are the standards of true friendship, I don’t live up to them in my own mind. I’m working on it though.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting I really appreciate you taking the time and making the effort.

      Blessings,
      Kina

      Like

  1. I agree with merbear264.. this was actually weighing very heavy on my mind today and then i checked my email and saw ur post… thank you for sharing and for being so brutally honest .. 🙂

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    1. Donm,
      Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. As I told Merbear I’m sorry you are going through this too but glad to know others are connecting and being helped through my words.

      Blessings,
      Kina

      Like

  2. A true friend will understand if you say, “I have nothing to give right now – all of my energy is going into just surviving.” We all have these moments, and they always pass. True friends will be there waiting for you.

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  3. Good friendships have times where at different times we support each other but at the center is a want for what is best for the other. At the moment you need to heal yourself more before you can deal with others pain/problems.

    There may be little things you can do, if it makes you feel better, to keep those friendships going and let them know you care. My personal favorite is free ecards as they don’t require responses and they usually put a smile on someone’s face. I’ve included messages like “I’m not up to extended conversations right now but I wanted you to know I was thinking of you and am keeping you in my prayers” (the last as appropriate).

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    1. Tasha,
      I may have to open an e-card account. Thanks for that idea.

      I have a few people I consider very good friends, but I feel as though they are always the ones holding me up and seldom the other way around. I just get tired of being the “needy” one and start getting self-critical about it.

      Thanks for the feedback and encouragement.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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  4. To me, what you are describing is not a bad friend. A bad friend uses you for personal gain. A bad friend only pretends to care when convenient. You are simply stating that at this point in your life, your ability to help others might be limited because your energy is in healing yourself. Your true friends will understand.

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    1. Granny,
      I think I get concerned because I have lost friends from not being able to reciprocate time, attention, and sometimes even materially. I have lived a life of perpetual crisis and chaos and have seldom been capable of giving back when I have received so much. A lot of that is because of misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and incorrectly or untreated mental and physical health issues. So, it often looks like all I do is take without giving back and that I am never interested in what’s happening in their lives.

      I do know there are some who understand and accept these things about me. However, the codependent part of me really, really wants the others to know and understand what’s really happning here and stop being critical and put off by my limitations and accept that I am doing what I am able.

      I am feeling the love and acceptance from all of you though and that is helping to mitigate my concerns. Thank you for your kind and understanding words.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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  5. I used to work at at facility where we occasionally had to enter a manhole. We were instructed that if a buddy encountered gas that debilitated them, we were to take care of ourselves first, lest both of us be incapacitated. In other words, if we overextend our capacity to help given our limitations, both can go down. I applaud your wisdom in taking care of yourself. It is the best way to be there for your friends – at whatever time, whatever level you are able. Your writing tells your care.

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  6. Kina, our true friends will stay and journey with you. Others may walk away but you will always have what you need nearby. I have watched you come so far in the past six months and you will come even further, I am sure, because I believe in you. Don’t be too hard on yourself, allow yourself time to heal. Give yourself the respect you give to others. You are not less than them, you are equal to them. Love yourself as much as you love others. Make a resolution this month not to apologise for who you are but to celebrate it. You are perfect and you are precious in the eyes of God, remember that. You are my friend and will always be my friend you are unique and special and I love you.
    Take Care
    Athena x

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    1. Athena,
      Aww, you brought a tear of relief and release to my eye. Thank you for your love, encouragement and support. I think I need to go back and read through the last six months because I haven’t detected much growth.

      I wasn’t intending to apologize for who I am, but I guess that’s become my fallback position, apologize for being me. Something to consider. Celebrate me? Let’s not get crazy now, lol. I’m just learning to accept me. I’ll work on that though.

      Blessings,
      Kina

      Like

    1. Merbear,
      Thank you for the reblogged and the comment. I’m sorry you are going through this too, but so glad my writing resonated and connected for you. After reading all the comments it is clear I have a somewhat flawed and distorted understanding of friendship and maybe need to reevaluate and reexamine the issue. Perhaps that could be helpful for both of us.

      So glad you visited and commented.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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      1. Your welcome. I am trying to reconnect and be more social, but I find it difficult. I go from feeling warm and fuzzy to being angry and anti social. It is hard to keep a balance with friendships that way. I don’t have much energy for others, it seems. Take care and keep writing.
        Merbear

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        1. I understand how you feel. I used to love being around people and be reenergized from the experience. Now I dread it because I wind up feeling drained and wrung out.

          We’ll figure it out, some day. Thanks for being here.

          Blessings,
          Kina

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